Medication, medication, medication. That word dements me at times.
My mother would frequently ask “Have you taken your medication” .
Part of me would actually shut off I heard it that many times. Bless her she was only looking out for me.
It does get annoying though doesn’t it? When you go off on holiday with your friends and you have people asking “Have you got your meds? Now are you gonna be ok?” Yeah I am going to be champion. Stop asking.
Deep down you know your family/friends want what’s best so we have to just grit our teeth and bear it. Either way they only mean well.
For pete’s sake all I was thinking about was my medication. Following that neurologist appointment all I was thinking was did I do the right thing to reduce it? Was I going to have a seizure, you can get the gist of where I am coming from.
For all epilepsy sufferers out there medication is something that can take time to adjust to particularly when your specialist has plans to change the dosage you’re on or the type you’re taking.
Some people have pill boxes I would (and still do) have that small bedside cabinet that consists of my mobile phone, my medication and my inhalers. The occasional nail polish might be sitting there too much to the dismay of my husband who wonders how on earth I can move with all that mess.
Medication is like getting washed on a morning. You jump in the shower/bath before you get dressed and travel to work. Medication is something you get used to taking. It can be a mare at times however subconsciously you know that by taking it it’s keeping the seizures on an even keel.
Although my medication had been altered I was feeling rather upbeat the most upbeat I’d felt in a while. I had a spring in my step and all I could think about was “onwards and upwards”.
The feeling of therapy didn’t seem too bad in fact I’d actually grown to accept that I would be off to see a therapist soon. If I was to see this individual I would have to make sure my diary was updated regularly so my therapist could identify any underlying issues.
I knew I had to embrace the therapy as I was given the chance to change the monotonous routine that was my worry. Some people don’t get that chance or don’t take that chance when it’s offered.
Work was going relatively well and I had been taken a level transfer to another office. Things were looking up.
Although I was wary as to what a new start would bring I felt that if I was going to start something new I better get a move on and throw myself into the deep end. I feel that maybe by me doing that caused more problems than what it’s worth.
My chin was up at work however when I returned home I had this feeling of self consciousness. I kept on wondering whether they knew I was epileptic and whether they could see my condition staring them in the face. I was getting myself upset for literally nothing. My previous office gave me a hard time about my condition and I didn’t want this office doing the same.
How was I meant to cope with rejection in the workplace? This is the place where I spent 8 hours a day 5 days a week. How was I supposed to react to telling them I was epileptic?
The day eventually came when I did. I hadn’t been there long; within a couple of days the questions started. I knew I couldn’t hide so I best run like the wind and be straight with them. I was prepared.
I gave my colleagues a detailed account of where I had transferred from and how long I had been with the company for. My colleagues were aware that I suffered from headaches and before long the topic of “Have you been to the doctor about your headaches” cropped up.
Telling my colleagues that I was epileptic was nerve wracking at first however when they were aware they were extremely encouraging and still are.
In our office practising diversity and equality is a major issue and something that is drilled into you from the moment you arrive. Trying to explain to someone that you have a disability is hard as some didn’t even know what epilepsy is let alone knowing what a seizure is.
Fortunately my manager and central first aider in the building allowed me to raise epilepsy awareness to my immediate team. He used me as an example and put me in the recovery position.
The first aider thought this would enlighten my colleagues as to what to do should anyone have a seizure in front of them. It put me and them at ease knowing someone was giving them advice in order for them to help me when my condition took control.
When I would have a shaky bout they would sit me on the floor with one talking, the other grabbing me some water and the other getting me a bar of chocolate. We all tried our best to figure out what was causing that particular shake on that particular day. Let’s just say we were all like a ton of doctors in a non neurological environment. It actually made me laugh some days.
My colleagues were witty and very forthcoming and I truly felt safe when specific people were around me.
In order to maintain a level of strength whilst shaking you have to be able to focus on someone/something so I did just that. I focused on them and battled my way through the tenseness and tiredness the shakes would bring. Sometimes it worked, other times it didn’t. The shakes were just too strong.
There were times where my manager was fully aware that I needed to rest. He could see it in my eyes. My personality wasn’t the same, my mood had changed and he knew I needed time to recover.
Not long into my new position I would put my colleagues in a position that we had only ever discussed briefly from time. It was only then that people started to notice properly.
I was on the telephone one Wednesday evening about 5pm.
I intended to stay late at work to catch up and I was in no mood to be argued with. I knew I had been ratty with people all day and I didn’t quite feel myself. There was a rabbit off and I didnt know what. Nevertheless I continued with my caseload, had a cup of coffee and a digestive biscuit.
Before I knew it the telephone rang.
I spoke with a customer who wasn’t friendly to say the least. The last thing I remember saying during that conversation was “I’m sorry I cant….”
I can’t recall what happened next.
All I remember was sitting on the floor with a paramedic either side of me, a red blanket round my shoulders and my colleagues amazed at what they had just witnessed.
I touched my body feeling my legs, one bruise, two bruise. My mouth was swollen, I had blood on my shirt as I had bitten my tongue and I was subdued.
Bloody hell I had just had a seizure in front of my new work colleagues. I cried however I wasn’t actually upset. I didn’t know what I was crying for.
This was the one moment that I recall where the disappointment never returned. I was saddened for my colleagues for what they had just encountered however was relieved because the people who may have doubted me knew my condition real and that this is what I had to endure. This condition was the problem that made me worry non-stop.
And so they came… The seizures had returned.
It had been almost a year and they were back. What a pleasant surprise.
Following that attack I didn’t increase my medication I vowed to continue as normal. I looked at it as a blip. It was my body’s reaction of adjusting to a new job and a new medication dosage. It was my body’s way of saying that I could cope with this.
I knew it was going to be hard managing the seizures and the shaking however I could either laugh at it or cry. I had done enough crying so laughing was the best option.